Figure 30: Hips was purchased in my attempt to take better care of myself. Yes, I exercise every day and push myself hard, but sometimes I think that is a problem–I am focused on the wrong things. It’s not all about how heavy I can deadlift and how high I can tuck jump–there is also functionality. And I do make attempts to incorporate more of it into my routines but it always seems to be short-lived and I return to beating myself up with little rest. Anyway, the point is, that was why I purchased this DVD–to work on my hip joints. I was so pleased with Kelly Coffey-Meyer’s Your Health Back, which reminded me of how excellent Mark Lauren‘s Mobility Rx is–that I decided the hips need special attention. Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about this workout so I already know I won’t be motivated to return to it. Nevertheless it is a good workout. So I’ll summarize what is good about it, what I don’t like about it, then on to the breakdown.
But first–the trainer is Tracie Long. She is new to me and this workout did not inspire me to want to purchase more of her workouts.
The good: she packs a lot into only 30 minutes and just about every single move in this workout–including the warm up and cool down–will benefit your hips in some fashion. It’s pretty comprehensive. She keeps things moving at a fast clip, the exercises are varied and you get it all–cardio, strength, mobility and flexibility.
The bad: what I don’t like about this workout may be the very thing that makes this the perfect workout for someone else. There is a lot of balance work in this workout. A lot. It is good to work on your balance, however, I have very poor balance. I’ve mentioned it in other reviews, but I have plates and screws in my heels that affect my ankle and foot range of motion. In order to balance on one leg, the muscles in your feet are constantly firing and compensating to keep you steady. Well, mine cannot do that so I cannot stand on one leg w/out holding onto something. Oddly, I can hop on one foot, but I cannot do one leg exercises w/out modifying for balance. I have to either tap a toe down or hold onto something. For the balance exercises in this workout I had to hold on to something. Now, I still think I got good hip work, even holding on to something, since whether or not you are balancing on one foot doesn’t affect the range of motion of your hip. Nevertheless I dislike workouts that have such a huge amount of balance work–I don’t like being forced to modify so much of a workout. One of the other things I disliked about this workout was the fast pace. Now, in general I do not have a problem with a fast pace, but the exercises in this workout are compound and complex, and since she keeps you moving constantly I felt like the exercises didn’t have the control factor that is needed in a work like this. I was hoping for something along the lines of Mark Lauren‘s Mobility Rx and Kelly Coffey-Meyer‘s Your Healthy Back. Those two workouts focus on functionality, strength and flexibility; and because of that, every move is done with control and strict attention is paid to form. That does not happen in Focus 30: Hips. The cueing was less than stellar, too, for this type of workout.
A better workout (in my opinion) for your hips is Mobility Rx. It isn’t just for your hips–it’s for your entire body, but even so, it does a better job working the hips than Focus 30: Hips does.
Focus 30: Hips is chaptered, just in case you don’t want to do the whole 30 minutes. There are benefits to every section of this workout–the warm up and cool down, too. Tracie did a great job really focusing on moves that benefit your hip strength, mobility and/or flexibility. I’ll review it by chapter but the workout as a whole is 30 minutes long from beginning to end. Equipment needed: ankle weights, slider disks or paper plates and a broom handle or dowel stick (I used my body bar). Now, in the breakdowns below, I list each move in the order it appears, but sometimes she only does one side of the body for some of the moves then comes back later and works the other side of the body. When that happens I only list the first time the exercise appears.
Warm up is 5 minutes. It consists of balance work; raising a knee then a shallow lunge while bending forward to touch front toe. Squat, then shift hips forward and raise heels. Side lunges with alternating toe touches. More balance work: stand on one leg, raise the other knee, straighten the leg then circle it both ways. Next you’ll stand on one leg and raise the opposite knee, but this time you will bring it around and kick it behind you. Plie squats.
High Cardio Hips is 10 minutes. The first move is called hurdles and you will be returning to this particular move frequently during this section but you will be combining with other moves; you raise your leg and rotate it into a squat like you are jumping a hurdle (circling the leg in the hip joint). Add a little “push off” or side leg lift right after the squat before returning to starting position. Next is a side tap with a hip hinge and knee raise at the top; this turns into a balance move (no more tapping). More balance: lunge forward, come up with knee raised (so on one leg) then kick in a pattern behind you (quick, quick, slow). Side lunge with side kicks in the same pattern while also balancing on one leg. Next you will step back then do the wide hurdle leg, bringing leg to front into a narrow split stance then do 2 jump lunges before stepping back again. Now you get into a low but still narrow split lunge with finger tips on the ground; do 4 low jump lunges, do the hurdle leg again, 4 more low jump lunges then, with fingertips still on the floor, bring back leg out and in, in the “quick, quick slow” tempo. This section ends by grabbing the dowel stick for balance and doing a sort of standing hydrant kick.
Sliding Ankle Weighted Hips is 10 minutes. For this section you will need one ankle weight, the sliders and the dowel. Put ankle weight on right leg. You also need one slider and the dowel. Put the dowel over your shoulders and your left toe on the slider. Two sliding side lunges then on the third, when you slide back in, bring the foot behind the other into a shallow curtsy lunge. Next you will do a “quick-quick-slow” side lunge then circle the foot forward then back (toe is still on slider). Get rid of slider and take dowel off shoulders. Hold dowel in left hand for balance. Your right foot still has the ankle weight on it; you will point it in front of you (in a ballet stance) and circle it around behind you. Add side squat and abduct (raise leg to side). Then do squats only (stepping to side, squatting, and stepping back in and squatting but never straightening fully). More squat abductions and ballet circles. Put ankle weight on other leg and repeat everything in this section on the other side of the body. Get on floor and do butterfly stretch. Put your legs into a sort of Z position with one knee in front and one knee behind (she calls it 90-90–referring to degrees I assume) and raise the back foot/leg, with knee bent, off the floor. Raise and lower, then pulse, then push heel out. Grab sliders and put them under both feet, sit on bottom with hands on floor behind you, knees bent and feet in 3rd position; lift hips while sliding both feet out so you are in reverse plank, then slide feet back in, lowering hips.
Stretch is 5 minutes. Runners lunge w/ rotation on both sides. While in runners lunge rotate hip (of leg behind you) into floor (kind of an awkward move). Put legs back in the Z or 90/90 or pretzel position and side reach, then roll shoulder forward and back. Down dog into 3 legged down dog, bending raised leg and rotating out to stretch hip. Do a cobra, but bring knee up to side while in cobra. End with some standing side stretches.